We deepened our commitment to society by ramping up climate action and embedding sustainability across our markets.
Ramboll is founded and guided by the belief that we contribute to sustainable societies with solutions that make people and nature flourish and we do this by acknowledging and adopting globally recognized frameworks for sustainable development.
Contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
As a strong supporter of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ramboll contributes positively to the SDGs through our projects and own operations.
We develop and use SDG tools, best practices, and methodologies to help ourselves and our clients progress these goals. Our cross-organisational strategic focus is on SDG 13 - Climate Action. The project impact varies across Markets, with the SDG focus of our Markets outlined below:
Buildings: SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
Transport: SDG 9 – Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
Energy: SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy
Environment & Health: SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
Water: SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
Management Consulting: SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
Architecture & Landscape: SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities and SDG 13 – Climate Action
In the Winning Together strategy, Ramboll developed a methodology to align our portfolio and measure share of revenue that positively contributes to the SDGs.
In 2020, the SDG-related revenue reached 62%, as compared with the 2016 baseline, outperforming our target of 40% with 60% growth. The SDGs were an important driver for identifying, documenting and communicating our sustainable business.
As part of our new strategy, The Partner for Sustainable Change, we will begin to measure our sustainable revenue in accordance with the EU Taxonomy to align with the commonly agreed international framework for how to classify and measure sustainable revenue, and thereby replace our previous SDG methodology.
Sustainable Buildings Market Study
Ramboll conducts a biennial Sustainable Buildings Market Study (SBMS) to contribute to the urgent global conversation on sustainable buildings, bridge knowledge gaps, and provide actionable insights for the industry. The SBMS surveys and maps out the perceptions of nearly 700 stakeholders – architects, consultants, developers, contractors, real estate investors, tenants, suppliers, and researchers from the Nordics, the UK, and Germany.
An overwhelming 94% of participants agree sustainability is important for successful business operations. However, the survey shows the industry’s focus is shifting from energy efficiency and well-being to a more material-driven approach where concepts such as life cycle thinking, circularity and waste minimisation are increasingly important.
The UK, Germany, and Finland are front runners in carbon neutrality according to the 2021 survey results. 56% percent of UK respondents and 40% of Finnish respondents say net zero carbon buildings are embedded in their business strategy. Yet, more than a third identified a lack of technical knowledge as a barrier to delivering on this component of their strategy.
The survey also found more than 30% of respondents identified a lack of general understanding of the global sustainability agenda as a barrier to incorporating sustainability issues into their organisation.
Furthermore, with the outbreak of Covid-19, many actors in the global real estate industry were forced to focus on managing the immediate consequences of lockdowns, such as interrupted contracts and managing the spread of the pandemic amongst building users. Overall, 87% of respondents think the pandemic will affect long-term work patterns and that more people will work from home in the future.
Volunteering to make a difference
Our volunteers give thousands of hours of their time for free every year to a wide range of projects, in close cooperation with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), local programmes, and the Ramboll Foundation. Projects range from building bridges in Africa to improving sanitation and water supply in remote areas of the Himalayas or in Central America.
Ramboll supports NGOs such as Bridges to Prosperity and Engineers Without Borders, through either strategic partnerships or donations given through the Christmas gift policies of Ramboll in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Our local initiatives, such as the Ramboll Humanitarian Association or the Indian Corporate Responsibility initiatives, support orphanages and outreach programmes on a long-term basis.
During the pandemic lockdown periods, our volunteers assisted virtually if projects were not postponed. In this way, technical training and advice were still provided to projects such as postdisaster structural assessments in Syria and Iraq, and of a youth facility in Beirut, Lebanon. On-site training and assistance were again made possible in the latter part of 2021, for instance on climate adaptation and sanitation projects in Sierra Leone.
Ramboll is proud to have employees use their technical and personal skills to help wherever needed. Whether it is remote or onsite, our employees make a positive difference to societies.
Ramboll Foundation donations 2021
The owner of Ramboll, the Ramboll Foundation, donated DKK 18 million to promote sustainable development for the benefit of nature, society and people. Donations are given to projects within research and education, as well as to those that support humanitarian efforts and strengthen civil society. Most of the latter projects directly involve our employees.
The Foundation’s PhD Programme continues to be a success, with 12 PhD scholarships and fellowships funded in 2021.
The Flemming Bligaard Award, named in honour of former Ramboll CEO and Ramboll Foundation Chairman, was awarded in 2021 to an early-career researcher in the green energy transition.
Anne Lyck Smitshuysen of the Technical University of Denmark won the DKK 500,000 prize for her novel method of increasing the size of cells used in electrolysers, which could eventually lower the cost of producing green hydrogen (see p 41).
The Award was established in 2020, when the inaugural winner was Dr. Colin Rose of University College London.
His research into replacing concrete and steel with a new mass timber product called cross-laminated secondary timber (CLST) could help reduce embodied carbon in the built environment. Lastly, the Foundation continued to support individual employees in difficult circumstances.
Local tax obligations
Ramboll views tax as a positive consequence of our business activities. Ramboll pays corporate income taxes and other business taxes in the countries in which we have profitable business activities.
Ramboll also collects and remits employee income taxes, social security taxes, VAT, sales tax, and other indirect taxes.
Together, these taxes represent significant contributions to the countries and societies in which we operate.
Ramboll is committed to acting with integrity, transparency, and compliance with all taxation regulations.
Shaping resilient societies
Helping Paris prepare for a warming world
Ramboll and the City of Paris, France, have partnered to map how climate change will affect the city. In a comprehensive study, "Paris facing climate change", we found several major climate risks could happen as early as 2030, rather than by 2050 as first expected. Here are some of the ways in which we are helping the city to become more climate resilient.
What is the most sustainable public transport system?
To achieve its climate targets by 2035, the city of Kiel, Germany, is optimising its pubic transport services. To support that task, Ramboll is examining the two means of transportation that could most improve the existing public transport system: tram or bus rapid transit (BRT).
Driving the global build-out of offshore wind
We have partnered with Kiewit, the largest offshore fabricator in the US, to design and build an offshore substation topside for South Fork Wind off the coast of Rhode Island. It will be the first-ever US-built offshore substation, while South Fork is only the second offshore commercial project in the US.
Laying the groundwork for the world's first energy island
The Danish Government has committed to establishing two energy islands in the North Sea and Baltic Sea in 2030. Together, they are expected to supply 5 GW of electricity, enough to power five million homes in Denmark and neighbouring countries. That capacity may increase to 13 GW.
Securing water access from California to Cape Town
Access to clean water is critical for sustainable development but, in many places, water sources and systems are under pressure. In 2021, Ramboll strengthened collaboration with Cape Town and California on groundwater-related projects, applying best in class groundwater technologies and approaches.
Supporting low-carbon mobility in Finland
Low-carbon public transport is vital for development of cities and meeting global climate goals. We’re helping improve smart mobility in Finland, with several projects that took off in 2021.
Safe drinking water for 95 rural Ivory Coast communities
To help Owini Swiss AG receive a loan to build water supply infrastructure for 95 rural Ivory Coast communities, Ramboll provided an environmental and social management system (ESMS) to successfully meet financial agreement standards.
Risk assessing the world's largest carbon capture and storage project
By repurposing offshore oil platforms in the Danish North Sea, a consortium of 29 companies including Ramboll are exploring the feasibility of storing large quantities of carbon emissions under the seabed.
Catalyst for climate action
Throughout 2021, we raised our voice on the climate agenda. Our aim was to convene key actors and ramp-up action on the green transition.
Progress on our commitments
Our commitment: We act as trusted partner, always passionate about the success of our clients.
Our commitment: We care for all employees and their development through leadership, investment in people and equal opportunities. We put health and safety first through a zero-harm culture and safety in design.